Shrujan Trust, a Bhuj based no profit, no loss organisation that has been empowering women in the Kutch region by curating and promoting the traditional embroidery craft tradition in contemporary silhouettes across the globe over the last 50 years, is exhibiting its collection for three days, starting February 14, at The Aga Khan Hall in the Capital.
The collection will showcase some of the authentic embroidered pieces, which will reflect the vibrant culture of Gujarat and mirror the work of the diverse communities of Kutch, and also bring some of the couture collection created under the guidance of well-known designers like Sudha Patel, Ami Shroff and Swati Dalal. The collection includes silk saris, stoles and West Bengal Cotton silhouettes with intricate embroidery work. Every garment will have a story of its own as these are created over a week, months and sometimes even a year.
Taking us through the history, Ami Shroff, Managing Trustee, Shrujan, says, “In 1969, my mother Chandaben Shroff went to the Kutch region to aid drought relief efforts. She realised that the local community there was reluctant to accept handouts, insisting on being given work instead.
Another thing that came across was the intricate and diverse embroidery done by rural women. She decided to experiment, and bought 30 saris, gave them to 30 different women and asked them to adorn them with their embroidery. As they were put up at an exhibition in Mumbai, the 30 pieces were sold off, with demands for more. And thus Shrujan Trust was born.”
Today, more than 6,000 women have been empowered to use the embroidery that was once a personal craft and turned into a source of livelihood and a tool for preserving their culture, all at the same time. The trust also runs the recently established Living and Learning Design Center that aims to maintain the craft culture of the region dating back centuries and even promote it on a global platform. Additionally, the centre is even skilling the next generation of craftspeople in rich history and tradition that emerges from the Kutch region.
Shrujan’s craftswomen embroider in more than 60 different styles. “These women are proud to use their hands to stand tall on their feet. Their passion for excellence is what makes Shrujan embroidery like no other, anywhere in the world. Unlike other organisations, Shrujan believes in honouring the artisans by giving them their fair share for the time they put in, irrespective of whether the piece they create, gets sold or not,” says Shroff on her working model and USP.
The exhibition for the first time will be graced by experienced craftsmen and craftswomen who have handcrafted these designs and embroideries. “We expect a good response, as this time there are national award-winning weavers, ajrak artists, tie-dye artists, exhibiting their work, along with Shrujan. In the past, we have received an overwhelming response in the Capital, and we are confident that we will receive Delhiites’ support this time around as well,” says Shroff.
Shrujan hosts its collection in all the major cities of India annually including Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Mumbai. Shrujan had organised its biggest annual collection showcase at the Prince of Wales Museum of Mumbai, the 49th year of the exclusive exhibition held over a week, and in June 2018, it showcased its work in Japan.